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About Le Central



Opened in 1974, Le Central has been serving traditional French cuisine for over four decades, boasting the honor of being San Francisco’s most historic French bistro. Conveniently located on the cusp of the bustling financial district and downtown Union Square, Le Central stands out in a rare one-story historic brick building, crowned by a vintage Tabac sign. Offering classic French faire such as Filet Mignon au Poivre, slow-cooked Cassoulet and Roast Chicken Pommes Frites, Le central’s cuisine is comforting yet sumptuous. The exposed brick walls, stained glass features, and imported brass bar invite you to retreat and unwind in its charming, brasserie atmosphere. Le Central is the downtown stop for locals and visitors looking for a classic meal, delicious glass of wine, and a taste of la belle vie.

453 Bush St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
View Larger Map

Dining Style:
Casual Elegant

Cuisines:
French

Hours of Operation:
MONDAY - SATURDAY
Lunch: 11:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Dinner: 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Bar: 11:30AM - 10:00 PM
Happy Hour (Bar only): 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

SUNDAY
Closed

Cross Street:
Grant and Kearny

Dress Code:
Smart Casual

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(415) 391-2233

Website:
http://www.lecentralbistro.com/

Parking Details:
Sutter-Stockton Garage

Executive Chef:
Johnny Tanphanich

Private Party Facilities:
We welcome you to our little bistro with a big heart. Dining alone, on a date, with visiting family, for a special occasion, or a familiar face, bienvenue chez nous. Gathering colleagues or close friends for a larger group event? We can do that, too. We can even provide a whole side of the restaurant for a more private dining experience. Let us know your needs and we will do what we can to accommodate them. We are here to take care of you.

Private Party Contact:
Melanie Tanphanich: (415) 391-2233

Additional:
Banquet, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Private Room, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Special Events & Promotions:
Join us for Happy Mondays.... 50% off all wines by the bottle limit 2 per party Mondays from 5:30pm-10pm

Specials

50% off all Bottles of Wine
New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Instantly increase your points with dining rewards

Specials

50% off all Bottles of Wine
Details

Enjoy your meal with a delicious bottle of wine!

Terms and Conditions: Includes Tax, excludes service, limit 2 per party.

Valid For: 1 - 20 People

Starts: October 11, 2017

Ends: April 11, 2018

Availability: Mon 5:30PM-10:00PM

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Details

Le Central will be open for dinner on Sunday to celebrate New Year's Eve. Join us for a special prix fixe menu!

Instantly increase your points with dining rewards

See availability for bonus point tables

Details
Tue - Sat 9:00PM - 9:45PM

Send a Gift Card

Buy now and send it instantly by email, or print a card to give in person.

Le Central Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.3

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.3

service

4.4

ambience

4.3

value

4.0

Noise

Quiet

93% would recommend it to a friend

Authentic (20)
Good for a Date (19)
Business Meals (17)
See All
Romantic (16)
Special Occasion (14)
Great for Lunch (14)
Neighborhood Gem (13)
Good for Anniversaries (11)
Quiet Conversation (10)
Pre/post Theatre (10)
Good for Birthdays (9)
Bar Seating (8)
Cozy (8)
Notable Wine List (8)
Comfort Food (7)
Fit for Foodies (7)
People Watching (7)
Healthy (6)
Casual (5)
Handcrafted Cocktails (5)
Fun (5)
Good for Groups (4)
Seasonal (4)
Worth the Drive (4)
Creative Cuisine (3)
Happy Hour (3)
Hot Spot (3)
Local Ingredients (2)
Sunday Lunch (2)
Vibrant Bar Scene (2)
Afternoon Coffee (1)
Great for Brunch (1)
Kid-friendly (1)
Disabled Access (1)
Organic (1)
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1335 reviews
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vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined 21 hours ago

Terrible experience. Host was arrogant and rude. No greeting. Sat me. No menu. Nothing. I sat for 10 minutes and was totally ignored. I had to ask for a menu and water. When I finally ordered lunch the tart crust was soggy and the plate refrigerator cold.

WORST RESTAURANT EVER. WILL NEVER RETURN.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food2
ambience3
service1
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined 6 days ago

we have been here many times and come back for the happy hour and French atmosphere.
Great bartender, Sean and our server Didier lent the French absence we enjoy!

Tags: Happy Hour, Authentic, Romantic, Quiet Conversation
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Washington DC)·Dined 6 days ago

We always go to Le Central for the cassoulet when we are in S.F. It never disappoints.

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience3
service4
value4

 
·Dined 7 days ago

Great food, good flavors ! Everyone enjoyed their meal.

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on December 7, 2017

The duck confit was mediocre. Otherwise lunch was okay.

Tags: Authentic, Business Meals
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food3
ambience4
service4
value3

 
·Dined on December 7, 2017

Excellent food and service. The steak was fantastic.

Tags: Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Good for Groups, Fun
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on December 7, 2017

We’ve been here numerous times. Lee Central is dependably good.

Tags: Notable Wine List, Comfort Food, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value4

vip
 (New York Area)·Dined on December 3, 2017

My family (myself, my wife and our 9 year old son) really enjoyed the food at Le Central. Delicious, without being pretentious, French cooking. We had great service from Scott as well. All together a delightful experience that we’re certain to repeat.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Pre/post Theatre, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Diego)·Dined on December 2, 2017

Absolutely wonderful! Wow! We will be back to dine here every time we visit San Francisco. Simply the best salmon. And the best Cappuccino! A++++ Sooooo happy we found this little place!!! This place goes on the favorite list.

Tags: Romantic, Sunday Lunch, Seasonal, Fun, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Healthy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on December 1, 2017

The food and atmosphere was just as I remembered whem I ised to lunch there often 35 years ago when I worked in tbe finamcial district. The waiters are great and its such an SF institution. You can't go wrong in a place filled with so many only in SF memories and characters!

Tags: Great for Brunch, Special Occasion
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Sacramento)·Dined on December 1, 2017

I chose this because it had good reviews, however it was not a gluten free friendly place, the food was mediocre, and I arrived starving and left starving.

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food2
ambience5
service5

 
·Dined on December 1, 2017

We chose Le Central for its good reviews and convenient location. We were not disappointed. We loved our meal and had great service. We will definitely dine here again when in town.

Tags: Authentic, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on November 30, 2017

Sean, the bartender recommended the crab cakes starter. Great call. Scallops were perfect entree. Lemon soufflé was just ok. Attentive service made up for it. Overall a great dining experience

Tags: Good for a Date, Bar Seating, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 30, 2017

We appreciated being able to sit in the back corner for quiet conversation. The food was great but the duck dish was dry, no juice like I’m used to for cassoulet.

Tags: Healthy, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 29, 2017

There are several excellent things on the menu that I enjoy. Their iconic cassoulet and their hot or cold chicken (depending on the weather). My companion thoroughly enjoyed the pepper steak.

Tags: Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List, Great for Lunch, Good for Birthdays, Comfort Food, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 25, 2017

We had a great experience with our children, exposing them to authentic French cuisine (escargots, mussels, mousse au chocolat) and they declared the roasted chicken the best they had ever tasted (after mom’s of course!) My wife and I enjoyed a lovely bottle of Tattinger. We arrived at 7:00 to a place half full and completely filled by the time we left. Only the waiter left something to be desired. He was not very attentive and seemed like maybe he’d been doing the job a little too long. We would return and overall it was a good meal experience for our family.

Tags: Romantic, Neighborhood Gem, Good for Anniversaries, Sunday Lunch, Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Authentic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience4
service3
value4

vip
 (Vancouver)·Dined on November 15, 2017

Excellent French cuisine amidst the charm of classic San Francisco! Could not ask for better meals, service or ambiance!!

Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
·Dined on November 12, 2017

The overall experience was excellent. We were seated immediately. The staff were very friendly and the food was very good.

Tags: Casual, Worth the Drive
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 12, 2017

We ordered butter lettuce salad, mussels,
Creme brûlée and chocolate mousse, coffee.

We don’t believe we got good value for money; $12 for a salad that wasn’t tasty, $15 for mussels that were very small although the sauce tasty; $8.50 each for creme brûlée and chocolate mousse, $3.00 for coffee that tasted burnt. The desserts lacked richness.

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food2
ambience3
service3
value1

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 12, 2017

A reliable brasserie/steak and frittes joint. Great french onion soup. Limited salads. Nice choice of entrees. They will do some substitutions. Wine prices fair. We go twice a year. Some older staff are a bit crusty. Our waiter was fine.

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food3
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 11, 2017

Excellent French restaurant. My salmon was cooked to perfection! Great location, very central to Union Square. Prices were reasonable.
Happy hour was a great value!

Tags: Handcrafted Cocktails, Hot Spot, People Watching, Pre/post Theatre, Notable Wine List, Happy Hour, Bar Seating
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service4
value5

 
·Dined on November 10, 2017

Favorite place to dine in SF. The food is out of this world. Friendly staff and prompt service. The atmosphere reminds me of back home (France). Absolutely worth the trip from Marin County.

Tags: Authentic, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Quiet Conversation, Fit for Foodies, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 9, 2017

Classic! Travel back to old San Francisco with white table cloths and superb service. This was the power brokers’ lunch choice for decades. The food and the service are terrific. The cocktails are generous.

If you want quiet conversation for business or friendship, this is the place.

Tags: Great for Lunch, Healthy, Special Occasion, Quiet Conversation, Business Meals, Authentic, Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on November 7, 2017

I am Vietnamese and Chinese, know the cuisines very well and a foodie. Honestly authentic, delicious and upscale Vietnamese food like I’ve never had before. Very impressed with the depth of selections and the excellent service. Can’t believe I’ve never been here before, but this will be the place to eat every time I’m back in town!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Good for a Date, Handcrafted Cocktails, Good for Anniversaries, Romantic
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 29, 2017

We went for a family birthday and had a great time. The service was excellent. The halibut was very good in every respect. French onion soup was very nice. We had a Nice bottle of Rombauer Chardonnay. We all enjoyed it, and I recommend it.

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Authentic, Romantic, Quiet Conversation, Good for a Date, Special Occasion, People Watching, Business Meals, Good for Anniversaries, Great for Lunch
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 27, 2017

Food was horrible, especially considering the price. Egg noodles in ragout were undercooked and veal was overcooked. Casoulet was exteremely salty and beans were overcooked. Service was excellent, felt bad the waitress had to serve us such awful food.

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food1
ambience3
service5
value1

vip
 (Los Angeles)·Dined on October 25, 2017

This restaurant retains that "old" San Francisco bistro feel which I enjoy. I had an outstanding burger and fries.

Tags: Cozy, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience4
service4
value4

vip
 (Las Vegas)·Dined on October 15, 2017

3 of us ate dinner here on Saturday night. two of the three had filet mignon which was cooked to perfection and tender enough to cut with a fork. I had what the waiter described as slow cooked veal which was also good. But When I asked what cut of meat it was he looked at me as if I had 3 heads. So I asked again using an example: "what cut of meat is it, like is it a veal shank like osso buco?" He said no it was small pieces of veal .with some vegetables. I said do you mean veal stew?
The steak came with a sauce and mushrooms. My granddaughter doesn't like mushrooms so I said we can ask if they are prepared in the sauce or separate so she would know if she wanted the sauce or not. When we asked the question the waiter seemed annoyed but replied that the mushrroms were cooked separately and added to the sauce. So Both my granddaughter and my husband wanted the sauce that came with the steak on the side and my husband also wanted the mushrooms on the side. My husbands steak came with the sauce on it and my granddaughter's sauce came separately with the mushrooms in it.
If it were a very busy night I would understand how the order was not followed but the restaurant was half full. And the waiter didn't bring us our dishes, someone else did.
So I think the restaurant and kitchen is very good but the waiter was awful.

Tags: Cozy
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service3
value3

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 15, 2017

Excellent salad, good halibut and nice dessert + 1 glass of wine and 1 cocktail + tax and tip = $100.00 for one person. A bit much. I rated it "quiet" as I was there for an early dinner.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Seasonal, Organic, Bar Seating, Pre/post Theatre, Handcrafted Cocktails, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem, People Watching, Good for Anniversaries, Notable Wine List, Good for Birthdays, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies, Healthy, Authentic, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 14, 2017

Good old-fashioned French food without a trace of trendiness. I haven't had chocolate mousse in years and it was wonderful.

Tags: Good for Anniversaries, Good for Birthdays, Pre/post Theatre, Good for a Date
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (New York Area)·Dined on October 12, 2017

We planned an early dinner so that it would be quiet and it that worked out perfectly. We were the only group in the dining room at that hour. The entrees and desserts were delicious and the service was excellent.

Tags: Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Cozy, Good for Groups, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

vip
 (Nashville)·Dined on October 11, 2017

My 2 guests and I enjoyed Le Central. Has a small French bistro feel with some tables in room with the bar and others off in another room. Very good, attentive, friendly service. Enjoyed a endive chopped salad. One of my guests had the burger and fries. Looked good and he said it was very tasty. Many of his fries were small segments so hard to eat. My other guest had the mussels appetizer which she said was excellent, but surprised it didn't come with charred toast or something else to use for the broth. I had half chicken and fries. Chicken a bit dry but still good. Also had some problem with the fries but those you could eat were excellent.
Enjoyed a nice Unti Sangiovese.

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food3
ambience4
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 9, 2017

Classic French food, perfectly prepared. Elegant service. A perfect birthday lunch!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 8, 2017

I had a great time good food great location for all occasions...

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 5, 2017

I lOVE this classic French bistro. It is an old standby. It is rarely crowded, which concerns me, but the food quality and service is just superb. I think it is just now "trendy", and caters to a somewhat older crowd, so if we keep it a secret, it will remain the BEST place for a nice quiet, business lunch or dinner and/or romantic place. We saw Willie Brown, our former mayor there the other night. He is a regular. Love all of you who continue to make it great. ANd the fact that the wait staff have been there for years and years. A true SF classic!

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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on October 4, 2017

We always enjoy Le Central. The food is consistently very good and the ambiance and service is excellent.

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for Groups, Good for a Date, Business Meals, Vibrant Bar Scene
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 30, 2017

A Genuine San Francisco Classic. Charming, elegant, warm and so San Francisco- French.
It breaths its history as one of the most beloved lunch spots in the City and on the West Coast. If you want to understand gracious bistro dining - visit Le Central and step into a world of comfort and satisfaction - you won't regret it and you won't forget it -

Tags: Cozy, Bar Seating, Casual, Romantic, Authentic, Neighborhood Gem, Business Meals, Good for Groups, Quiet Conversation, Comfort Food, Great for Lunch, Pre/post Theatre
1 person found this review helpful.
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience5
service4
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 30, 2017

Obviously a legendary spot reflective of old time SF & while the menu was acceptable & the wine list had a good combo of values, rarities & unique gems, the execution from the kitchen was mediocre. We were greated by an awesome host & served by an excellent waiter. Both of them were tops. Unfortunately, the kitchen sends out food that looks like it was prepped 13 hours ago. The only thing that seemed fresh were the Pomme Frites. Throughout dinner, some dude in white dishwasher scrubs kept coming out & looking out the front door. I began to wonder if he was the watchout for the ICE. Nevertheless- the room is lovely - cozy & warm. I'd go back for wine & cheese plates, maybe some off the menu add on items like the cold smoked salmon, but plan the main course elsewhere.

Tags: People Watching, Neighborhood Gem, Comfort Food, Bar Seating
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food3
ambience4
service4
value2

vip
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 24, 2017

Great little spot with a friendly staff. Smal place with a small but tasty menu.

Tags: Good for a Date
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

 
 (San Francisco)·Dined on September 24, 2017

Wonderful! Was looking for an after theater "french" meal and found Le Central. The staff was wonderful. Noah the bartender was exceptionally friendly and nice. Locals sitting at the bar gave us their favorites. They are now our favorites. The mussels and scallops were cooked to perfection. Bib lettuce and fig salad, wonderful. French onion soup, hot, cheesy and a great broth. Will definitely go back again.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Happy Hour
Was this review useful to you?Yes·No·
food4
ambience4
service5
value4

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